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Museum or spa? This ‘healthy hotel’ is calling us to Québec City

Written by Travel Adventures

Notable, too, in this dining room are the many solo travellers — not unusual in a retreat. But this isn’t a typical spa — it’s a restaurant in the heart of a city. Maybe the unexpected smattering of business travellers and a young family booked based on pictures and price via a conventional accommodation platform. Most guests, though, seek respite here since caregivers get a special rate. A brief exchange with a 60-something widow over an ancient herbal recipe tea revealed she was a nurse enjoying her first well-earned holiday in over a decade.

My exercise in how to travel better came amid pin-drop quiet over homemade organic bircher muesli when the silent breakfasts made me appreciate the soft might of Le Monastère. A polite request of silence in the mornings honours its past convent ways. It coaxes residents into a way of being that promotes physical, mental and spiritual well-being through calm and contemplation in our otherwise always-on world. (Even if it made me want to giggle loudly — which is what once got this ex-convent-school girl expelled.) Being forced to unplug and appreciate living more mindfully is a welcome reminder that we’re often in such a rush to see the world that we’ve forgotten how to disconnect and be fully present in unfamiliar contexts.

Image may contain Desk Furniture Table Lamp Plant Spa and Indoors

Spa at Le Monastère des AugustinesAndre Olivier Lyra

Our digital detox was a world away from the tourists taking selfies up the hill backdropped by the iconic grandiose Fairmont Le Château Frontenac​​. It meant we took in more stories of Canada’s past, and it cultivated compassion for the 10 per cent of the population who are unpaid carers. Being shaken out of your comfort zone can lead to inner journeys you aren’t expecting. Surrender to the quiet. Just be mindful of taking a teen along for the ride.

Le Monastère des Augustines: The details

Book a double room at Le Monastère des Augustines for around £115 a night as a regular guest. Retreat packages start with a full-board one-night stay, movement and wellness, from around £140. For carers, the same stay only costs around £28, plus there’s a 15 per cent discount on all treatments. Every stay subsides R&R for people looking after those who are ill, disabled, older, have mental health challenges, and really need to recharge their batteries. As well as professional carers and healthcare workers, a huge percentage of the population are unpaid carers.

Carefree

This charity-powered platform in the UK connects accommodation providers with carers throughout the country: 60 per cent of us act as a carer at some point in our life.

HealthJob

Healthjob partners with Hotel Planner to offer healthcare workers discounts off the best available rates at hotels.


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